In 1978, George Lucas released his notorious “Star Wars Holiday Special” that, while it introduced Boba Fett and Life Day into canon, is widely regarded as the worst piece of Star Wars media.
So when I saw a LEGO version of said holiday special was dropping on Disney Plus, I was both intrigued and a little cautious.
I’m a big fan of LEGO and a big fan of Star Wars, and the two have naturally gone hand in hand since the launch of the LEGO Star Wars in 1999, whose first sets I remember having. The LEGO Star Wars video games are also great fun, and I highly recommend them, especially if you have kids and want to have something you both can enjoy together. But I was unfortunately too old when LEGO Star Wars films and TV shows started coming out.
“The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special” follows Rey (Helen Sadler) as she tries to train Finn (Omar Benson Miller) to be a Jedi on Life Day, some time after “The Rise of Skywalker.” Relying on the “ancient texts” she salvaged in “The Last Jedi,” she has no luck, and flees to an ancient Jedi temple that has a magical plot device that allows her to travel back in time to key moments in the Skywalker Saga (Don’t expect to see anything from the “High Republic” era or “Knights of the Old Republic”).
The rest of the film is an amusingly inoffensive romp through the Skywalker Saga. It’s broken up into a bunch of small skits, a handful of which I found funny, some I found cute but not necessarily charming, and the rest I found annoying and kind of embarrassing. The film sets up a loose plot as Emperor Palpatine (Trevor Devall), Darth Vader (Matt Sloan), and Kylo Ren (Matthew Wood) try to capture the time travel device to change the course of history, but it serves only to connect the various skits.
While nowhere as bad as the original “Star Wars Holiday Special”, this special is also nowhere near the best Star Wars parodies. Apparently, the goal for this special was to bring 40 years of Star Wars history together, but in doing so, it makes it indistinguishable from the sea of mediocre Star Wars parodies out there, and despite it being centered around Life Day — the central event in the original special — the holiday is of little importance to the film, with all attention given to Rey’s time travel mishaps. This special could’ve been something great, transformative, and hilarious, but instead it decides to parody areas in the Skywalker Saga that have already been done to death.
While it is parody and to some extent you can reasonably assume a general audience will know some basic facts about Star Wars, I’m also going to have to deduct points for how inside baseball its references are. Unless you’re a millennial who grew up with the prequels and have kept up with Star Wars meme culture, many of the jokes in this will fly over your head. Executive Producer James Waugh has claimed in an interview on starwars.com that he wanted the special to be timeless, but it’s one of the most dated Star Wars parodies I’ve ever seen.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, there is some enjoyment to be had here, though you’re probably better off rewatching Robot Chicken’s Star Wars parodies. If you’re not a Star Wars fan, you just won’t understand this.
While this special has some skits I enjoyed, it’s barely a film, and it’s a particularly weak entry in what is already an overcrowded micro genre. It won’t hurt you by any means, but it also has very little to offer even Star Wars superfans.
“The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special” gets a 2/10